Manhattanhenge Photos Through the Years: Which Is the Best Year?
Manhattanhenge Photos Through the Years: Which Is the Best Year?

If you tried to catch “Manhattanhenge” this weekend only to see clouds instead, you may find some comfort in these pictures of the visual phenomenon captured over the years.

Manhattanhenge is a play on the words “Stonehenge” and “Manhattan.” Just as people gather to watch the sunsets perfectly aligned with the prehistoric stone monument in Britain, people have also noticed the visual appeal of a sunset aligning along the grid structure of Manhattan’s streets.

Only two times a year does the sun set in a perfect angle so as to be visible from the eastern edge of the island, as it peaks, from the west, through the walls of skyscrapers.

One of the chances this year occurs on two days, May 29 and May 30, shortly after 8 p.m. But the first day’s opportunity was thwarted by clouds.

A view looking west of Manhattanhenge, which was not visible due to clouds, on May 29, 2016 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
A view looking west to see Manhattanhenge, which was not visible due to clouds, on May 29, 2016 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

And the forecast indicates cloudiness on May 30 as well.

Indeed, Manhattanhenge was reported to be a failure last year as well.

The next chance to see the alignment will be July 11 and July 12 at 8:20 p.m.

We have had some nice Manhattanhenge moments in years past though. Take a look:

Traffic slows as tourists and pedestrians watch the Manhattanhenge phenomenon July 11, 2014 on 42nd Street in New York. The event happens when the sunset lines up with the New York City street grid. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
Traffic slows as tourists and pedestrians watch the Manhattanhenge phenomenon July 11, 2014 on 42nd Street in New York. The event happens when the sunset lines up with the New York City street grid. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

The sun sets along 42nd Street in Manhattan during an annual phenomenon known as "Manhattanhenge," when the sun aligns perfectly with the city's transit grid, Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The sun sets along 42nd Street in Manhattan during an annual phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun aligns perfectly with the city’s transit grid, Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

People stand in the middle of 42nd Street in New York's Manhattan borough as the sun sets through the middle of the buildings during a phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
People stand in the middle of 42nd Street in New York’s Manhattan borough as the sun sets through the middle of the buildings during a phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, on Wednesday, July 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The sun sets on the horizon overlooking 42nd street as "Manhattanhenge" occurs in New York on July 13, 2011. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun sets on the horizon overlooking 42nd street as Manhattanhenge occurs in New York on July 13, 2011. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Manhattanhenge on July 11, 2010. (Andra MIhali/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Manhattanhenge on July 11, 2010. (Andra MIhali/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Manhattanhenge on May 31, 2009. (Haldean Brown/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Manhattanhenge on May 31, 2009. (Haldean Brown/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Manhattanhenge on June 3, 2008. (Sevtibidou/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Manhattanhenge on June 3, 2008. (Sevtibidou/CC BY-SA 3.0)

New York, UNITED STATES: The sun sets 30 May 2007 over the west side of New York City, known as Manhattanhenge, a term coined by an astrophysicist and inspired by Stonehenge. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun sets 30 May 2007 over the west side of New York City. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

The sun sets creating a modern-day 'Stonehenge effect' along Manhattan streets May 28, 2006 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The sun sets creating a modern-day ‘Stonehenge effect’ along Manhattan streets May 28, 2006 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The term “Manhattanhenge” was coined by the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium.

Here are his tips for observing the phenomena:

For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.

According to Tyson, the phenomenon, or rather the possibility to clearly observe it, may be unique to Manhattan.

“Note that any city crossed by a rectangular grid can identify days where the setting Sun aligns with their streets,” he stated. “But a closer look at such cities around the world shows them to be less than ideal for this purpose. Beyond the grid you need a clear view to the horizon, as Manhattan has across the Hudson River to New Jersey. And tall buildings that line the streets create a vertical channel to frame the setting Sun, creating a striking photographic opportunity.”

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